A Comprehensive Guide to Fixing a Leaking Faucet

A leaking faucet is not just an annoyance; it can also lead to water waste and increased utility bills. However, before you reach for the phone to call a plumbing service St Louis, there are some DIY steps you can take to try and fix the issue yourself. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of troubleshooting and repairing a leaking faucet, providing you with valuable tips to tackle the problem effectively.

  1. Identifying the Type of Faucet

Understanding Compression Faucets:

Compression faucets are traditional and often found in older homes. They have separate hot and cold handles and can be identified by their up-and-down motion to control water flow. Leaks in these faucets usually occur when the rubber washer inside wears out.

Recognizing Ball Faucets:

Ball faucets are common in kitchens. They have a single handle that controls both temperature and flow. Leaks in ball faucets can often be attributed to worn-out O-rings, springs, or valve seats.

Deciphering Cartridge Faucets:

Cartridge faucets feature a single handle that moves left to right to control temperature and up and down to manage water flow. Leaks in cartridge faucets typically occur when the cartridge itself becomes worn or damaged.

Exploring Ceramic-Disk Faucets:

Ceramic-disk faucets are known for their durability. They have a single lever to control both temperature and flow. Leaks in these faucets can be attributed to damaged ceramic disks.

  1. Tools You’ll Need

Before diving into the repair process, gather the following tools:

Adjustable wrench

Screwdrivers (both flathead and Phillips)

Plumber’s tape


A bucket or towel for cleanup

  1. Step-by-Step Repair Process

Turn Off the Water:

Before starting any repairs, turn off the water supply to the faucet. This is usually done by closing the shutoff valves located beneath the sink.

Cover the Drain:

Place a towel or a bucket beneath the sink to catch any water or small parts that may fall during the repair process.

Remove the Handle:

Depending on the type of faucet, use a screwdriver to remove the handle. For ball and cartridge faucets, you may need to use an Allen wrench to remove additional parts.

Replace O-rings or Washers:

For compression and ball faucets, inspect the O-rings and washers. If they appear worn or damaged, replace them with new ones. Apply the plumber’s tape to ensure a tight seal.

Replace the Cartridge or Ceramic Disk:

If you have a cartridge or ceramic disk faucet, carefully remove the old cartridge or disk and replace it with a new one. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific faucet model.

Reassemble the Faucet:

Put the faucet back together in reverse order. Ensure all parts are securely tightened.

Test for Leaks:

Turn the water supply back on and test the faucet for leaks. If the issue persists, you may need to check for other underlying problems or consider seeking professional plumbing services in St. Louis.

  1. When to Call a Professional

While many leaking faucet issues can be resolved with DIY efforts, there are situations where professional assistance is necessary:

Persistent leaks despite DIY repairs

Complex faucet designs that require specialized knowledge

Lack of confidence or experience in plumbing repairs

  1. Prevention Tips for Future Leaks

Regular Maintenance:

Schedule routine maintenance checks for your faucets to identify and address potential issues before they escalate.

Addressing Issues Promptly:

Don’t ignore minor leaks. Addressing them promptly can prevent water damage and the need for more extensive repairs.

Upgrading Old Faucets:

Consider upgrading older faucets to newer, more efficient models. This not only improves water conservation but also reduces the likelihood of leaks.


By following these tips and understanding the anatomy of different faucet types, you can confidently tackle a leaking faucet on your own. Remember to exercise caution, turn off the water supply, and consult professional plumbing services in St. Louis if needed. With a bit of DIY know-how, you can enjoy a drip-free faucet and lower water bills.

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